Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Dominant Genealogical Resource on the Internet -- The FamilySearch Wiki

I would like to make an observation and a prediction. First, the observation. The FamilySearch Research Wiki is presently the largest single genealogical research tool on the Internet. Next, the prediction. At its current rate of growth, the FamilySearch Research Wiki will shortly become the most valuable genealogical resource in existence. One comparison to support this observation and prediction. As of the date of this post, the FamilySearch Research Wiki startup page had been accessed 251.6 million times. By comparison, the Wiki startup page, on the other hand, had been accessed 1.03 million times. There does appear to be any reference to the number of pages of the Wiki, but the FamilySearch Research Wiki is growing at the rate of about 1000 pages a week and is presently at 58,080 pages.

The growth of the Research Wiki has come despite the lack of major exposure, even on the website itself as witnessed by the lack of any reference to the Wiki on the startup page. This growth is coming despite the lack of a prominence of the Wiki on the startup page and despite the fact that many (most) of the users of have no idea the Wiki even exists.

The dominance of the Research Wiki comes from several factors. It is a Wiki and as such, it will grow larger and become more valuable simply as a function of the value of the resources it already contains. In addition, FamilySearch is posting millions of historical records online every week. As collections are added to the FamilySearch Historical Record Collections, they are, at the same time, integrated into the Research Wiki. For example, look at the millions of records added just since 1 May 2011. One collection, the Poland, Roman Catholic Church Books, 1600 - 1950 contains 2,063,625 images but is dwarfed by the huge Argentina, Catholic Church Records collection with 4,005,399 images. These two collections by themselves, constitute a major online resource. But they are drowned in the sea of records pouring online from FamilySearch.

The Research Wiki is the master catalog or metadata source for all of this vast collection of collections and the Historical Record Collections are presently in their infancy. Only a very small percentage of the available records have yet to be posted online.

What else portends the dominance of the Research Wiki in genealogical research? The fact that there is nothing presently on the Internet pertaining to genealogy that has even a ghost of a chance of becoming more important or that is growing more rapidly.

I would also make a request to everyone who reads this post. If you find a new resource on the Internet and blog about how valuable it is. Take a moment and add a link to the resource on the Research Wiki. This one act will leverage your knowledge and make the resource even more valuable by making in known in the larger international community.

1 comment:

  1. Wow!
    Thanks for the reminder, James.
    I'll take a look at teh Australian resources there and see what I can add.